Sea Point school mourns death of ouma

Friends and family gathered at the Sea Point High School hall to pay their last respect to Cynthia Ford.

Sea Point High School is mourning the death of its long-standing bursar, Cynthia Ford.

Ms Ford passed away on Saturday February 2 from cancer at the age of 71.

The former principal at the school, Piet Botha, described her as a person who was gentle yet firm.

He said the pupils called her Ouma.

“She was the ouma of the whole school, she would take care of kids, help them out if they didn’t have money for transport, she’d buy stuff for the school out of her own pocket,” said Mr Botha.

He said the kids called her “Money tannie”.

“Her two sons, Gavin and Brian Ford went to Sea Point schools. She was involved in the primary and high schools since 1986. She was on the Parent Teacher Association at Sea Point Primary before joining us here,” he said.

Mr Botha said Ms Ford’s husband, Tony, also used to help at the school.

“She’s left a huge gap to fill. I’ve stepped in after her passing, but I still feel like I’m invading her space. She had her own system. This is a huge loss for the school, her absence will be greatly felt and she will be sorely missed,” he said.

Mr Botha remembers Ms Ford as a typical English lady who would do high tea functions.

“She used to drive to a farm in Durbanville to fetch their milk and the eggs,” he said.

The youngest son, Gavin Ford, described his mother as the strongest person he knew.

“My brother and I always thought she’d be the last that would depart us. It takes courage to carry on and mom gave us that courage. We’ll not mourn you mom, instead we will celebrate you,” he said.

The eldest son, Brian Ford, remembered his mother as someone who didn’t like a fuss or being in the spotlight.

“She was very strong, we knew something was seriously wrong when she had to leave work early on a Thursday, three weeks ago because she loved her job and didn’t do sick leave,” he said.

Tony said they had been together for more than 50 years.

“I asked her to marry me when she was 19 and she said yes, but her father said I must wait until she turned 21 because he wanted to pay for her 21st birthday party. I did not complain because my salary at the time would not have covered the cost of a 21st birthday party,” he said.

Mr Ford said his wife was an only child but she was not spoiled and had a great sense of humour.

He said she was a fantastic wife who touched many lives.

“She was a huge fan of the British royal family and there are enough books in the house to prove this. She felt like she was part of the royal family. Goodbye, my love, you will be missed.

“And I did clean the bathroom toilet this morning,” he said.